book review

Good Ol' Sibling Rivalry | Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Friday, August 10, 2018

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 5/8/18
Pages: 303
Source: purchased
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind. So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism. And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother. That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.
Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch follows Addie on an Ireland road trip that guarantees to help mend her broken heart. Nothing has been the same between Addie and her brother, Ian, since the boy she liked broke her heart. Forced together on a trip under mom’s orders, the siblings will finally share their secrets and grow closer than ever before. This book is sure to leave a smile on your face, waiting for what Welch comes up with next.

Love and Gelato's Companion

  • Love and Luck is the companion novel to Love and Gelato, which released in 2016. Love and Luck follows Addie, a character introduced in Love and Gelato. However, readers do not have to read Love and Gelato to fully experience Love and Luck
  • Whereas Love and Gelato gave us a gorgeous view of Italy, Love and Luck welcomes us to Ireland. The backdrop is absolutely stunning. Welch is able to describe the lush fields and precarious mountain sides as if readers are right there with the characters. To immerse readers further, there are several excerpts of a fictional guide book to Ireland between chapters. It truly inspires readers to want to see Ireland for themselves. 
  • Love and Gelato was about finding pieces of Lina’s mother's past. Love and Luck is about mending a broken heart while on a road trip in Ireland. I find that I liked Welch’s previous novel a bit more than this one. However, it may have been in part, because Addie and Ian were fighting most of the time. The constant fighting between siblings is a bit exhausting. Addie and her brother, Ian, are in the throes of a dramatic sibling rivalry that is entirely believable and, at times, hilarious. 

Great Summer Read

  • Jenna Evans Welch does it again with fantastic prose. Not only does the setting draw you in, but the writing keeps you suspended in the story. There just seems to be so much variety in her writing style. Her books are the perfect summer reads. The story is light, fun and adorable.
  • Addie is the main character who could easily be your best friend. Ian was a constant, ever-observant brother and by the end of the book, I quite missed certain characteristics of his such as his knee bouncing and his taste in music. It's the little details that Welch adds that makes these wonderful characters seem so real. Rowan is my favorite. His seemingly relaxed attitude mingled with his stressful background flushed his character out impeccably.
  • The cameo of Ren and Lina was adorable and despite, Welch keeping the romance to a minimum in Love and Luck, I'm happy that the two lovebirds of Love and Gelato did not steal the spotlight away from Addie. 

Heartache in Ireland

  • The excerpts of the guidebook offered heartache homework guaranteed to help you mend your broken heart. It was fun to follow along in the guidebook and then to see how Addie and Rowan accomplished each task. The guidebook had me anticipating the next scene even more.
  • Welch keeps a secret from readers as a way to move the story along. It doesn't so much bother me as makes me interested into what she was hiding. She leaves it open for several guesses from readers. Along the road trip, clues are given in the tiniest amounts. Love and Luck is a contemporary treasure hunt that is sure to make you smile.
  • I would love a sequel or another companion novel. Welch left the ending open so readers can dream of possibilities. Even if it isn't another companion novel, I am wholeheartedly looking forward to another book by Welch.


For readers who love an amazing road trip, an outstandingly developed sibling relationship and a gorgeous backdrop, then Love and Luck is most definitely the book for you.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Books I'd Mash Together

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

It's been quite a long time since I've posted, I know. Over the summer, I participated in an intensive course that lasted six weeks and it just completed last week. Hopefully, that means I'll be posting a bit more now that it's done. I just need to get back in the routine of doing so. Despite all the course work, I was able to read some while I was away. And, do I have some amazing reads to share with you! However, before we get to all that, I'm mashing up some of my favorites today to make them a story no one is about to forget.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is: Top 10 Books I'd Mash Together:

Blackhearts meets Sweet Black Waves: We got the origin story of Blackbeard with Blackhearts and the tragic retelling of Tristan and Isolde with Sweet Black Waves. Let's have them meet and together they'd mash up their sword fights and pirate brawls. Sounds like the perfect combination!

These Shallow Graves meets Stalking Jack the Ripper: I read these two close enough together that they're basically mashed in my mind already. Two killers on the loose, two headstrong protagonists intent on finding them.

A Darker Shade of Magic meets Red Queen: Uh, yes please. Parallel universes meet Reds and Silvers. Lila Bard meet Mare. I think they would get along so well. And Kell would be there to play messenger amongst enemy lines.

Legacy of Kings meets Flame in the Mist: A retelling of Alexander the Great with fantastical elements meets Mariko and the forest of deadly trees. With Alexander and Mariko's wit and intelligence, every battle they fight would practically be automatically won.

The Winner's Curse meets A Court of Thorns and Roses: Kestrel meet Feyre. That would be some meeting!

Which books would you mash up?

kickin' it

Kickin' It: June 2018 Wrap Up

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Kickin’ It is a feature at The Bucket List where I round-up the whole month in one post, bringing you reviews you may have missed, other awesome bookish things, and even what I’m currently obsessed with in other media besides books. June was the worst reading month I've had all year but one of the best months aside from that. I didn't get much reading done this month, totaling the books read to only four. Yet, I'm having a blast as a student at the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City this summer. I've been learning so many new things and meeting so many cool people!

Here's my June recap:

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (4 stars): Wow, this sequel. I still don't know what to write about it. I think I like The Raven Boys better but I enjoyed this one immensely!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (4 stars): I'm slowly working through reading more classics this year. I read A Little Princess a month or two ago from this very same author and really liked it. So, I decided to give The Secret Garden a try and it was fantastic! My favorite of Burnett yet!

The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman (4 stars): Love, love, love this! Half in verse and half in prose. This wonderfully-told romance will leave you speechless!

Dawn of Legends by Eleanor Herman (4 stars): The final installment of the Blood of Gods and Royals series and let me tell you, this series is something you don't want to miss! It is a reimagining of Alexander the Great filled with fantastical elements and a large cast of great characters!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi: This one sounds so adorable. Parts told in text messages, an introverted romance blossoms. And this cover-- I droll over it every time I step into a bookstore!

Honor Bound by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre: I just discovered this one a few days ago. It's the sequel to one of my favorites of this year, Honor Among Thieves! Can't wait to read what happens next!

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West: Another Kasie West to add to the list. She's an auto-buy author so I don't even know what this one is about but it's a fluffy romance from Kasie West so it's going to be as adorable as I'm expecting!

When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn (7/17/18): This protagonist has been training to be an exorcist all her life. Like, what? I hope this one turns out to be as hilarious as it sounds!

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (7/31/18): I don't know much about this one except the tagline drew me in: In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison. This is most definitely something I must read!

Campfire by Shawn Sarles (7/17/18): A camping trip turned nightmare sounds like something I will read during October.

I realized, just now, that I haven't done much in discovering media this month. It's been rather busy with the course but I am having the time of my life. Despite my lack of movie watching, I was able to find time to rent three movies before my course started: Winchester, Peter Rabbit, and Annihilation.

Winchester was disappointing, I expected much more scares and a darker plot but the slow build up did nothing for me. Peter Rabbit was cute without much substance. Annihilation was the best of the three but certainly not my favorite ever. It was an okay film adaptation but some parts you can easily tell were taken from the book because they made no sense to be in the movie without any context. Overall, an okay month-- no great movies but hopefully, with summer blockbusters, I'll be saying the opposite next month!

 Annihilation Movie GIF

How was your June? What books did you read? Did you watch any shows/movies?

Top Ten Tuesday

10 Anticipated Book Releases with Red, White, and Blue Covers

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

It's not quite July 4th yet (one more day!) but we can celebrate a day early, right? While I'm currently in hours-long lectures, at least The Bucket List can get the party started before those fireworks start tomorrow! Happy 4th of July!

light new years GIF by Faith Holland

While the Top Ten Tuesday prompt this week is to find red, white, and blue covers, I decided to take that one step up and bring you a list of 10 of my most anticipated book releases that also happen to have either red, white, or blue covers! These books sound so good! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is: 10 Anticipated Releases with Red, White, and Blue Covers:

Odd One Out by Nic Stone (10/9/18): From the author who brought you Dear Martin, which I still haven't read, comes an interesting story of friendship, romance, and self-discovery. 

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins (9/4/18): I'm not crazy about books in verse but this book is so timely and important that I definitely want to give it a go! Six people's lives connect in a town wrought with political and personal tensions.

Nightingale by Amy Lukavics (10/1/18): A horror of epic proportions; this one sounds like it will certainly give me nightmares! All the protagonist wants is a little bit of freedom which certainly marks her as different in 1951. Her parents are so worried that they commit her to an asylum where her nightmares come to life. 

Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (10/2/18): A YA fantasy standalone? Sign me up! A group of hired killers work together to get each job done. However, Frey, a killer, dreams for something bigger-- glory and fame. When a monster is ravaging towns nearby, she rounds up the group in search of accomplishing her dream of glory.

Sadie by Courtney Summers (9/4/18): After the protagonist's sister is found dead and a police investigation that goes nowhere, Sadie decides to take matters into her own hands and bring her sister's killer to justice. *gulp* I've never read a book by Summers before but this sounds like something I won't want to miss!

Honor Bound by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre (2/19/19): Science fiction has always been hit or miss with me but the first book in this series, Honor Among Thieves really hit it off with me! I'm hoping for amazing things from this one! And with a tagline: Fight like outlaws. Die like heroes. I most definitely will not be disappointed!

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare (12/4/18): We still have quite a ways to go until this releases. Yet, since The Dark Artifices floors readers, I'm waiting until I have all of them in my hands to binge-read the whole series!

That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (8/28/18): When her best friend is killed in a mass school shooting, she lets people think what they want to think. But they've all got it wrong and she finally wants to set the story straight. I'm always on the lookout to what Keplinger will come up with next and this sounds like a magnificent, powerful read!

Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll (9/18/18): Three lives intertwine when they all take a job at a store that sells unclaimed and forgotten luggage from airports. If we were ranking summer jobs, this one sounds like a pretty cool one!

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti (9/18/18): I've tried to read books from Caletti before and I can never really get into them but I'm going to try again with this one. The main character becomes a reluctant activist when she decides to run marathons across America in an attempt to run from the trauma of her past.

What books are you eagerly anticipating?

book tag

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2018)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I did this tag last year (The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2017) and had such fun talking about all the books I've read so far that I wanted to make sure to do it again. I saw this post most recently over at Paperfury but I'm not sure who the original creator of this tag is. So far, I've read 53 books which is a little less than last year but I'm still hoping to beat my total of 102 so we shall see. Let's chat about some of my favorites this year:

The best book you've read so far in 2018:

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen: Why aren't more people talking about this one? It's an absolutely fantastic fantasy with an empowering female lead! Read my review where I gush about how amazing it is!

Your favorite sequel of the year:

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs: I went to this thinking it was going to be the finale of the series. However, not long after I finished the book, the publisher announced the fourth book will be releasing soon. I couldn't have been more happier. The action was great in this one and I was so satisfied with the end. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing how Riggs follows up the original trilogy and what other adventures these characters can go on.

A new release that you haven't read but really want to:

Totally unintentional in that I chose all contemporaries for this. I suppose with summer just around the corner, I'm in need of some fluff in my life. I've been hearing amazing things about From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon and after the adorable When Dimple Met Rishi, I can't wait to read everything Menon writes! I haven't read many books by Morgan Matson but Save the Date sounds like the perfect summer read. Plus, that cover is so much fun! Ship It by Britta Lundin isn't a book I've heard much about but it sounds like something I would enjoy.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

How could I pick just one? Mirage by Somaiya Daud (8/28/18) sounds like a crazy fantasy! A girl is kidnapped and taken to the palace because she looks exactly like the princess - and then she starts falling for the princess' fiance. Yes, please. Black Wings Beating by Alex London (9/25/18) sounds like a great read too! Twins journey to find the one thing they believe will stop the war. And last but not least, The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (10/2/18) is coming out and I just can't! This is going to be so amazing!

Your biggest disappointment:

It's unfortunate that there is more than one for this section. I had the highest of expectations going into Heartless by Marissa Meyer and they just weren't met. I expected a different sort of retelling and didn't get it. Same with Brooding YA Hero by Carrie DiRisio. I love the Twitter account so I picked this up, not really knowing what to expect. Part story, part writing guide was what readers got and it just wasn't for me. Allegiant by Veronica Roth, ugh. I don't even think it needs an explanation. 

Biggest surprise of the year:

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre: I don't like science fiction so I was pretty sure I wouldn't like this. Especially since from what I've read by Aguirre, I never could quite warm up to the writing. So it was such a lovely surprise when I truly loved this book!

Favorite new-to-you or debut author:

V.E. Schwab (author of A Darker Shade of Magic): So much love! The writing is absolutely phenomenal and I can't wait to read more from her.

Your fictional crush:

Rishi from When Dimple Met Rishi: Rishi, the romantic! He is such a sweetheart, so kind and amazing!

Kell and Rhy from A Darker Shade of Magic: I couldn't choose between the two! They are both amazing in their own ways. Kell is so reserved and cool. Whereas Rhy is always trying to get your attention.

Mati from The Impossibility of Us: These boys all have a special place in my heart, including Mati who is absolutely lovely. He's a gorgeous writer and such a kind person. Plus, he's undeniably handsome.

New favorite character:

Hence from Catherine: I wouldn't call him my favorite character. However, I am so intrigued by his character. I want to know more about him and his actions. Catherine is a retelling of Wuthering Heights and Hence is the Heathcliff character of the story. There are just so many questions to ask pertaining to him.

Branwen from Sweet Black Waves: From the inspiration of a tale of Tristan and Isolde comes Sweet Black Waves, a story that takes the original tale and turns it upside down. Instead of Isolde getting the man, it's Branwen, her lady in waiting. Branwen is strong but still trying to figure things out. Her unsure-ness is really what makes her stand out among other protagonists.

Mariko from Flame in the Mist: Mariko is the best - as much as Flame in the Mist is marketed as a retelling of Mulan, I really didn't see it. Despite Mariko not being a version of Mulan, she's still an awesome character who knows how to kick butt. She's incredibly intelligent and her witty and clever remarks are what make her a character I would love to be friends with.

A book that made you cry:

After You by Jojo Moyes: I never really made the decision to read the sequel to Me Before You. I thought it was fine as a standalone. It wasn't until someone gifted me the sequel that I finally gave in. After You was not what I was expecting. From the way Me Before You ended, I expected to see an epic Europe adventure. Instead, what we get is a rough journey leaving without him. It was hard and realistic and just getting over my expectations made me so sad.

A book that made you happy:

So many books have made me happy this year so far! Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby not only reminded me of a kdrama I had once binge-watched but it also made my heart so full. It was so adorable and meaningful! A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas is a novella to A Court of the Thorns and Roses series. It was so great seeing all my favorite characters again. And Geekerella by Ashley Poston was an answer my little fandom heart didn't know I had asked for. It was cute and heartwarming!

Favorite book-to-movie adaptation:

So I can't really say much about the book vs. movie since I haven't read the book yet. However, Love, Simon was such an amazing movie! 

The most beautiful book you bought/received this year:

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser | Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs | All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

What are some books you need to read by the end of the year?

I have so many books I NEED to read by the end of the year. And, if we are being realistic, I won't be able to get to half of them. However, these three are the books that are definitely on my radar to read soon. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is becoming a movie, which releases in August. I've refrained from watching the trailer but a lot of people have said it looks super cute. Markus Zusak has finally graced us with a new book, Bridge of Clay, that you can bet I will be devouring when it releases in October. His last book was The Book Thief so my expectations are very high for this one. And I've been meaning to get to an Adam Silvera book (maybe this year, I'll read They Both Die at the End) for years now. By the end of the year, I am making it my goal that I finish at least one book by Silvera.

I tag all of you! Let's get talking about our favorites of the year so far!